Last Tuesday, Israel’s military carried out the planned killing of Palestinian leader Baha Abu al-Ata in the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli airstrike that destroyed Ata’s home also killed his wife, and his two children were seriously injured.
Israeli officials called Ata a “ticking time bomb,” claiming he was responsible for rocket attacks against Israel.
Justifying the assassination, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said, “Israel is not interested in escalation, but we will do everything required to protect ourselves.”
Palestinian fighters responded by firing some 200 rockets into Israel, putting the area on high alert and causing Israelis to retreat into bomb shelters.
Israel struck back, bombing scores of targets in the Gaza Strip, killing some 45 Palestinians, including children, while injuring some 400.
In Israel, three civilians were killed and 60 injured as a result of the rocket attacks.
Prior to this weekend’s ceasefire, Israel destroyed several Palestinian government installations, including the headquarters of the Hamas prime minister.
Despite Israel having initiated the latest conflict, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser, Ben Rhodes, declared, “We believe Israel has a right to defend itself, and they’ll make their own decisions about the tactics that they use in that regard.”
U.S. Declares Israeli Illegal Occupation Legal
Adding fuel to the fire of this latest confrontation was U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement, which contradicts the U.N. resolution that Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is illegal: “Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace. The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”
The foreign minister of Jordan rebutted, stating that Israeli settlements were “a blatant violation of international law.”
Saeb Erekat, a prominent Palestinian politician, said the U.S. statement is “threatening the international system with its unceasing attempts to replace international law with the ‘law of the jungle’.”
Benjamin Netanyahu praised Pompeo’s statement calling it an acceptance of the “reality on the ground,” and “an achievement that will stand for generations.”
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Doubling down on its disregard for International law as evidenced by President Trump’s support of illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip, his administration has also been accused of violating international law when, in December 2017, it officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
And, in a move the international community also condemned as illegal, in March 2019, President Trump declared the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967’s “Six-Day War” as Israeli sovereign territory.
The United State government and Congress not only support Israel’s illegal occupations and settlements, they also call such criticism of Israel “anti-Semitic.”